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Authentic Active Learning Activities Involve Multiple Perspectives and Resources

Authentic Active Learning Activities Involve Multiple Perspectives and Resources

Authentic Active Learning Activities Involve Multiple Perspectives and Resources

When asked to research a topic or to understand an important concept learners often see the matter from a single perspective. But in all disciplines there are multiple points of view on any topic and so authentic Active Learning activities involve multiple perspectives and resources.

This is more obvious in the Humanities and related disciplines where there may exist diverse points of view on any important issue. However, literary analysis offers conflicting opinions as well. The perspective of the historian or the philosopher can also be brought to bear when discussing literary works as can the views of critics.

In the Sciences important discoveries or theories may have a variety of implications—Einstein and the development of the Hydrogen bomb for example. Notable scientists like Newton were greatly influenced by the epoch in which they lived and, in some cases, have shaped those historical periods. These interactions are also evident today in the way in which Science, Politics, and Economics interact in the debate over climate change. (more…)

Authentic Active Learning Activities Are Ill-Defined

Authentic Active Learning Activities Are Ill-Defined

Authentic Active Learning Activities Are Ill-Defined

In their early school years students are often given problems that have clearly correct answers. But even during the primary school years children can begin to tackle more challenging tasks. Authentic Active Learning activities are ill-defined. This is true in two ways. First, the problem posed, or project to be completed, may not have a clear definition. Some work may be required in order to articulate what exactly is to be accomplished.

For example, “Write a 500 word biography of Marie Curie highlighting her accomplishments in Physics” requires little thinking about the nature of the task. On the other hand, this question is more ambiguous: [/column]“Some governments argue that there is an increased need for surveillance of public communication. Others take the view that this activity violates civil rights. Take a stand on this issue and make a compelling case for it.” (more…)

Authentic Active Learning Activities Have Real World Relevance

Authentic Activities have Real World Relevance

Authentic Active Learning Activities Have Real World Relevance

Although the literature suggests that authentic Active Learning activities have real world relevance we might be better to say outside world relevance. Otherwise the implication is that what goes on in the classroom is unreal.

John Seely Brown sees a divergence between what outside-world practitioners do and what we have typically been able to replicate in the classroom (see post on this site) . It is a difficult challenge because when we try to extract the “essence of biologist” we don’t get everything. What we usually bring into the classroom is what Seely Brown calls the explicit knowledge. This is the kind of knowledge we find in textbooks. (more…)

Effective Student Collaboration

Effective Student Collaboration

Effective Student Collaboration

Effective student collaboration depends on group members’ ability to recognize and to adopt various roles. Students need to be able to recognize behavior that may be hindering the group. They must also be able to adopt roles that assist the group with its task as well as those that promote harmony among the members.

There is an alternate view on how to deal with roles in a group. It suggests that some basic roles should be assigned to members of the group by the teacher. Here are some examples.
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Designing Active Learning Activities

Designing Active Learning activities offers enormous possibilities for personal innovation and invention. Here is a chance to create something really new, and highly effective. The list of possible Active Learning activities is infinite! So be daring and have some fun. Don’t wait for someone to invent your Active Learning lessons. The following discussion is intended to help you build your own Active Learning activities.

Examine the following chart and think of it as an anatomical model of an Active Learning activity. It has, potentially, three parts, but at least two. Let’s also keep in mind that Active Learning activities can lie between simple and complex. This model can apply to even the simplest activities, such as a spontaneous in-class think-pair-share, but it is more valuable when you are designing Active Learning activities which are larger.
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